What I’m Digging Right Now – October Favorites

Good morning! I thought I’d take a minute to highlight some of my current favorite things, because it is all about “the little things,” right?

1). The fall air, crisp and cool coming in through the open window at night.

 

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

 

2). Fall-scented candles. My favorite so far is Yankee Candle’s Autumn Wreath.

 

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

 

3). The current seasons of Homeland, American Horror Story: Coven and Hart of Dixie.*

 

The great trilogy - our favorite series this season

The great trilogy – our favorite series this season

 

(And the combination of those above three things? Sublime.)

4). My new necklace in the shape of the state of Arizona, which I ordered online (it was my October “mois-versary” gift from Callaghan).

 

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16" sterling silver chain.

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16″ sterling silver chain.

 

5). Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Luna Bars.

 

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

 

6). Thug Kitchen, a food blog whose recipes are creative, scrumptious, healthy, easy and fun to read (if you share my sense of humor).

 

CaptureThugKitchen

 

7). Elevation Burger.

 

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

 

They have a vegetarian burger and a vegan burger, and the latter is a feat of culinary kickass by anyone’s standards. Also, their fries are fantastic and cooked in healthy olive oil. Okay, I’ve just decided that I’m going to make a list of “Top Ten Things I’ll Miss about Austin,” just so I can put Elevation Burger on it!

8). It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin.

In this little bottle, we have THE ANSWER to my current First World beauty problem (that’s a redundancy, I know), which is that my hair is in an unmanageable stage of growing-out bangs and an awkward cut with even more awkward layers and over-texturized ends. I’ve recently started dealing with the whole mess by pretending that the bangs already don’t exist, and the result is a cascading achievement of blah. ENTER THIS PRODUCT.

 

It really is a miracle.

It really is a miracle.

 

I’d been stalking it for some time, but its price tag had deterred me… until I saw it on sale at Target last week. It was still expensive, but I felt less guilty springing for it when it was $4.00 off (and I got the small size – 4 fl. oz). Turns out, it’s totally the miracle product it claims to be, so it’s worth the expense, as far as I’m concerned. See how shiny, soft and tame my hair looks in the above picture? That’s because of this stuff. That’s all I put in my hair after I washed it that day, and I didn’t do anything to it after that… it’s air-dried and uncombed. Seriously.

9). Movies about Formula 1 racing.

 

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10). This Matt & Nat bag I unearthed from a pile in a thrift store for $9.00, a rare find.

 

It's large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

It’s large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

 

What are you crazy about right now?

—–

*Since I posted about our Pretty Little Liars addiction, we’ve lost interest in that show! Writing about it broke the spell, oddly enough.

Well Worth the Wait – I Finally Saw Iron Maiden!

I’m no longer a Maiden virgin.

Last night, English heavy metal band Iron Maiden ROCKED AUSTIN when they came through on their “Maiden England 2013” tour, and I’m here to tell you that the show they put on was nothing short of SPECTACULAR. My first time with this band could not have been better. The concert was every bit the legendary Iron Maiden theatrical feast for the eyes and ears I’ve glimpsed in videos, but never thought I’d get to experience live.

Iron Maiden was extraordinary!

They performed at the Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas, which is the home of the new Formula 1 racing track, so it’s Out There, compared to where we live. We rented a car for the occasion, facilitated by the fact that there’s an Avis conveniently located within easy walking distance from our apartment. As you might expect at a world-class racing track, the outdoor amphitheater was enormous… but it wasn’t big enough! We found ourselves in cozy company with hundreds of other screaming fans. The Austin360 amphitheater is the largest permanent stage in Central Texas with a total capacity of 14,000, and it was sold out for Iron Maiden.

We had lawn tickets, but we scored some high metal barstools where they were lined up on elevated concrete slabs behind a rail at the edge of the lawn. Positioned directly in front of the stage on the bottom-most slab, we enjoyed a fantastic view. It had rained earlier, so the night air was balmy and pleasant… the weather was beautiful for an outdoor concert at night. The ambience was amazing.

Going in, my expectations weren’t set too terribly high since the guys are older now… I wanted to give them that, to be fair. I was not expecting to be completely stunned by a powerful, high-octane performance that could only be described as phenomenal. This was the ultimate metal concert. The stage sets, the props (which included robotics and pyrotechnics), the sound and the musical performance, itself – the show’s theme seemed to be centered on Maiden’s 1988 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album – combined to result in first-rate entertainment. It was all put together to staggering visual and auditory effect.

Iron Maiden gave us a show that was 110% heart and what had to be every ounce of their physical endurance. Throughout the hour and forty-five minute performance, they sprinted around and took flying leaps across the stage, constantly rearranging themselves from one end to the other. Bruce Dickinson appeared everywhere with swift agility, singing from both levels of the set and frequently wielding his mic like a harpoon. No way would I ever have guessed that these guys are in their mid-to-upper 50’s! Dickinson’s voice was spot-on impeccable, strong and clear, and his singing was as close to perfect as it gets. He might be aging, but his voice and lungs are clearly not.

Want to know what we paid for these tickets? A mere $40.00 each. That was all. (Black Sabbath was much more expensive.)

I took over a hundred photos, 16 of which I’m posting here. I regret to say that these are not good pictures. I’m not a photographer, and my camera has limited capabilities, so it was impossible to capture the dynamic stage presence, stamina, charisma and athleticism of these guys… but here they are, anyway – my attempt to give you an idea of what our four eyeballs raked in.

The entrance to the brand new and larger-than-life Circuit Of The Americas, which hosts Formula 1 races (a Renault F1 car sits there to attest of it) to X Games. It also vibrates to the tune of various concerts in the 360 Theater at its center.

The entrance to the brand new Circuit Of The Americas, which hosts everything from Formula 1 races (a Renault F1 car sits there in front) to X Games to concerts.

 

The stage from afar... the opening set

The stage from afar… the opening set

 

"The Prisoner"

“The Prisoner”

 

In constant motion!

In constant motion!

 

"The Clairvoyant," I think.

“The Clairvoyant,” I think.

 

Shadows and light

 

A long, vibrant and inspired "Phantom Of The Opera" took us on a lengthy musical journey.

A long, vibrant and inspired “Phantom Of The Opera” took us on a lengthy musical journey.

 

Bruce and his infamous flag, singing "The Trooper"

Bruce and his infamous flag, singing “The Trooper”

 

“The Trooper”

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Run-to-the-hills-2

“Run to the Hills”

 

The crowd didn't have room to run up and down the grass of Circuit of the Americas, but some thrashing went on while the 10-foot General Custer roamed the stage, threatening to cut Adrian Smith's throat with his 4-foot sword.

The crowd didn’t have room to run up and down the grass of Circuit of the Americas, but some thrashing went on while the 10-foot General Custer roamed the stage, threatening to cut Adrian Smith’s throat with his 4-foot sword.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Run-to-the-hills

Run to the Hills!

 

Two-story Eddie, representing "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son."

Two-story Eddie, representing “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.”

 

The "Can I Play With Madness" set.

The “Can I Play With Madness” set.

 

An animatronic "Eddie" oversees "Can I Play With Madness."

An animatronic “Eddie” oversees “Can I Play With Madness.”

 

Our favorite visual: "Aces High."

Our favorite visual: “Aces High.”

 

 

(Many thanks to Callaghan for re-sizing the images for me while I wrote this text!)

The band’s energy was infectious, too. Afterward, we were so keyed up, we were famished. We ended up at the drive-through of the nearest Taco Bell at half-past midnight, where I ordered a black bean burrito with no cheese, and Callaghan ordered a 7-layer burrito.

And now, we still have this rental car on our hands, so we’re going to take advantage of it and go get heavy things in bulk, such as kitty litter. Also, we’re heading out to Round Rock tonight to meet up with some people Callaghan knows for cheap drinks. (Can’t argue with $3.00 beers for him and free club soda for me!)

Incessant Phoenix Flashbacks. Also, the Sports Sitch in Austin.

I realized that ever since I decided to post here on Tuesdays and Fridays, I’ve been posting on Wednesdays and Fridays… this is the fifth Wednesday in a row. Not a Tuesday in sight on the recent calendar. Somehow, despite my efforts for Tuesday, Wednesday is just when it happens. Maybe I’ll try to start posting on Mondays, as well, to make it a 3x/week affair.

Saturday evening, we went downtown to meet a friend at Champion’s, and he took us for a stroll onto Rainey Street in pursuit of some local flavor. I kept expecting to find Casey Moore’s cozying up to the old houses lining the street. I wonder when the look-out in the back of my mind will stop automatically using my old Phoenix metro stomping grounds as a cultural point of reference for Austin? Austin is a very unique place with a distinct character of its own, but without wanting to, I’m finding Arizona corollaries for many places we encounter here, as well as many of the same businesses. Some of the Austin neighborhoods appear to have twins in The Valley (Greater Phoenix Metro Area), especially around Arizona State University.

University towns. I like them. Austin being a university town was one of its selling points. The live music scene in Austin is bigger than it is in Phoenix – hell, it’s the “Live Music Capital of the World” – but in my opinion, Phoenix has more of a hard rock vibe, if you can apply a genre of music to a place to describe its general ambience. Phoenix is Alice Cooper’s town. Alice is a big sports fan, and his establishment is a popular pre- and post-game watering hole and eatery in downtown Phoenix. (My girl Stevie Nicks is in Phoenix, too.)

That brings me to this one thing about Austin: there are no major professional sports teams. This is not a source of distress, mind you… it’s just different from what I’m used to. The Greater Phoenix Metro Area has the Suns (NBA basketball), the Diamondbacks (MLB baseball), the Cardinals (NFL football) and the Coyotes (NHL ice hockey). The Ironman Arizona Triathlon is there, and there’s pro fighting. Golf is also big in The Valley of the Sun; the WM Phoenix Open is the largest professional golf tournament on the PGA TOUR. The Super Bowl was hosted at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 (Cowboys vs. Steelers). There are also two college bowl games hosted in the Phoenix metro area (the Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl), and MLB Spring Training takes place there annually. Phoenix is a huge sports town by anyone’s standards.

Here, the major professional sports situation is this: San Antonio’s 1.5 hours away, which actually isn’t that far… it’s the home of the Spurs (NBA basketball). Drive to Houston (3 hours), and there are the Rockets (NBA basketball). And Dallas – 4.5 hours away – has the Mavericks (NBA basketball), the Cowboys (NFL football) and the Dallas Stars (NHL ice hockey). Also in the Dallas area, you’ve got the Texas Rangers (MLB baseball). So the teams are here in Texas, for sure. Just not here in Austin, which is perhaps a good thing, because it’s already bad enough that we’re tempted by live music opportunities every which way we turn.

It’s not like I went running off to sporting events all the time when I lived in Arizona. I didn’t. But I do enjoy the energy of a sports town, and there was the occasional game or boxing bout.

The most memorable one was on May 9, 1993; it was Game 5 of the Suns vs. Lakers NBA Western Conference play-offs. That was some basketball! The Lakers were in the house, and my boyfriend and I decided to go at the very last minute. We went downtown, bought tickets from a scalper and folded ourselves into the madness, because isn’t that what any sane college student would do when she has a final exam the next morning? I had my priorities straight. There were memories to be made. We had a feeling that the game would be phenomenal, and holy crap, our instincts did not fail us. About 500 mini heart attacks later (or maybe it was just one big long heart attack – yep, pretty sure I’m remembering that correctly), the Suns won 112-104 in an astounding over-time upset. That win constituted the biggest upset I’ve ever seen live, in person. Actually, it may have been the biggest upset I’ve ever seen, period.

 

 

I was there!

That was Jerry Colangelo’s Suns, with the likes of Charles Barkley; Dan Majerle; Cedric Ceballos; Danny Ainge; Kevin Johnson; Oliver Miller and Mark West on the roster. Remember that team, Suns fans? I was unabashedly obsessed. I was working part-time as a barista and found myself ridiculously flustered early one Saturday morning when coach Paul Westphal came in an ordered a latte. I don’t think I breathed at all while I was making his drink, and I was embarrassed because I thought he could see my hands shaking. At least it wasn’t KJ standing there before me. I would have passed out.

Needless to say, I’m a Spurs fan now!

But I’ll always be a Suns fan. And a Sun Devil.

One very exciting thing Austin does have, though, is Formula 1 racing. This is enormous, and it’s a relatively new development.

At any rate, I’m sure I’ll get to a point where I’m not looking around seeing Phoenix everywhere we go in Austin. We haven’t even been here two months yet. There’s a lot of discovery yet to happen, and we’re really loving it here so far!

Here are some pics from Saturday:

Stopping for a pose with this sculpture on our way to Champion's on 4th

Stopping for a pose with this sculpture on our way to Champion’s on 4th

A casual look at the scene while I was waiting for my Greek salad at the food trucks on Rainey St

A casual look at the scene while I was waiting for my Greek salad at the food trucks on Rainey St

I was distracted by the industrial beauty of the view while we were eating

I was distracted by the industrial beauty of the view while we were eating

Rainey St hang-out (with live music, of course!)

Rainey St hang-out (with live music, of course!)

A building downtown, lit up all gothicky and sweet at night

A building downtown, lit up all gothicky and sweet at night